After clearing your free trinkets and testing out the new crafting mechanism, the next large change to the game comes in the form of the modified dodge modification. As brought up in the previous post (and at the request of many), let’s discuss what exactly dodge is now and how this has impacted combat as a whole.
As a continuation in a later post, we shall also look into what is good now and new strategies to adopt in order to adapt to these new changes.
Before I go into that, do give the entirety of the official changelog a read first before we go any further.
Done? Alright, let’s start.
(Much thanks to Mercure and Ryan for pointing out my error in the dodge reduction values! Glad to have observant readers :))
The new Dodge
Since the release of the update, dodge has now become quite an intriguing principle. One no longer can place a definite dependence on a high numerical value and expect it to be constantly effective throughout a match.
To summarise the pointers in the changelog, dodge is now capped and premised on a degradation mechanism.
Simply put, dodge loses effectiveness every time you get hit by an enemy attack, but excluding damage taken from Damage over Time (DOT). This decreases your overall effective dodge to a percentage of 20% of your total dodge (multiplied, not a flat subtraction). For example, you can lose up to a maximum 40% dodge from a 50% dodge character.
However, there is no official indication of the exact duration of regeneration for dodge, but has been generalised to ‘a few seconds‘.
Bringing your dodge number above 70% though, through the use of gears and trinkets (and perhaps skills as well), is written to act as a buffer against losing more dodge value, as effective dodge remains at a maximum of 70%.
Think of it as a real-life scenario, where fatigue and exhaustion throughout combat impairs the performance of the player: – the more you dodge or get hit, the less effective your next dodge is going to be. Only until you recover by being out of combat, then your ability to dodge properly gets restored.
TL;DR: Dodge degrades whenever you get hit, similar to real-life, and recovers once you’re not being hit.
An Example in Math
To put all of this into perspective, here is an example to explain how this works in mathematical terms.
Let’s say you are planning to charge in head first into combat and trigger smoke veil to boost your dodge and keep yourself alive, below is what will happen in the past (previous of this update) and currently*:
(*The current scenario is a speculated guess since there is no longer a way to see numerical property values anymore.)
Assuming the following fixed variables:
- Base passive dodge – 50%
- Smoke Veil – 32.5%
Smoke veil stacks directly* onto your passive dodge, giving you a total of effective dodge of 50 + 32.5 = 82.5%.
(*This was documented in a previous forum post, but unfortunately the values can’t be tested now)
Current (Speculated guess)
Smoke veil stacks directly onto your passive dodge, but gives you a total effective dodge of 70% (maximum cap).
The additional 12.5% is translated into a ‘buffer‘ that enemies will have to make a couple more hits on you first before they can start decreasing your 70% dodge.
If you keep getting hit, you can lose up to whopping(!) 56% dodge to an effective net of effective dodge of 14%.
Of course, some might have realised a few issues with or have a couple of questions about this speculation, such as:
- What happens when your smoke veil runs out?
- How many hits does an additional 12.5% actually translate to?
- Does smoke veil actually add directly to effective dodge now?
The Impact of the Change
But beyond that, I’m guessing the burning question would be what does all this mean?
Effectively, the dodge degradation mechanism translates to removing the option of face-tanking (or standing in front and receiving) every single attack that comes towards you.
It also requires a need to be observant in combat, through understanding and reading the attack animations of enemies to know when they are casting spells or activating an ability. This will help you know the timings and when it is safe to rush into battle (right after an enemy attack) or keep away (in the face of abilities with multiple hits).
Ranged users also have a noticeable advantage over melee users, since keeping a distance from enemies means a reduction in chance of getting hit. However, ranged users still suffer when they get flanked or chased by stronger and faster minions (eg. monkeys, wicker beasts, ignicores etc.).
Although there is a presence of a dodge cap, high dodge users (>50%) will still benefit from this magical property/trait. They would have to be more cautious during combat now though since it does not guarantee an option to be complacent during battle as dodge does not stay as it is.
However, the higher one’s dodge is, the more % it loses when degraded. This also makes it less worthwhile to nitpick over the loss/gain of small percentages of dodge since it now becomes a constantly changing variable in combat which is influenced by how well players avoid getting hit, over ‘hard‘ values.
TL;DR: The new Dodge impacts: –
+ Avoiding attacks
+ Ranged Users
+ Small Trap rooms & multi-hit monsters
– Hard numbers
But wait, this actually does not explain entirely why combat is generally more difficult as a whole. Do keep reading as the post doesn’t stop here!
Unsurprisingly, raiding has naturally become tougher and is especially more so for those who have been highly reliant on dodge as a trait. However, the reason is not only attributed to this change of dodge, but also the re-balancing of certain skills.
As listed in the changelog, these are the skills include:
- Ice Burst – cannot bypass enemy dodge as easily
- Fire Cone – cannot bypass enemy dodge as easily, reduced burn damage; increased impact damage
- Ice Stalagmites – reduction of subsequent damage in the zone
An immediate observation about these nerfed skills is that many players have classified them overpowered (OP) and feedback that have been often exploited for easy wins. The common Smoke Veil, Fire Cone and Ice Stalagmites setup has often been the go-to combination for most players since it largely improves damage output and negates combat strategy to a large extent… …which have been attributed to the underlying cause of strongholds being less effective in defences.
My other guess is that this might be an attempt to re-balance all skills before arena gets released… something which probably needs work least it becomes as straight-forward as fighting against the keeper in SH v1.0.
After testing these skills, the following observations can be made:
Ice Burst – Still useful to maintain invulnerability during casting but not as well-off against minions that naturally have high dodge (eg. monkeys, corvus)
Fire Cone – Very much less damaging for burn damage and can now get negated by dodge. This is so much so that Fire Cone is much more useful for its passive traits (dodge, run speed) instead of it’s original damage-dealing intent, unless you keep firing it for its impact damage.
Ice Stalagmites – Still of legendary status as a persistent zone skill, but damage reduction can be ‘felt’, though reduction is very much less significant than Fire Cone. Doing an ice stalagmite in the middle of a Ruby Temple full of fire minions is still a feasible option though.
TL;DR: Smoke Veil, Fire Cone and Ice Stalagmites setup is no longer as effective
On the bright side, there are a number of equally impactful positive revisions to combat itself.
- Cyclone – Improved chance to block projectiles
- Earthen Wrath – Increased Damage
- Avalanche – More likely to bypass enemy dodge
Unfortunately, I don’t have the T6 variants of these skills so testing them might not be to the best of effect…which goes to show how much emphasis I’ve placed on these skills. I’ve noticed the T5 avalanche being more useful though, but I guess it’s best to only draw conclusions once the skill is T6.
On top of this, some of the ‘beginner‘ skills have also received T6 status as of this update. Shields, in particular, have been speculated to be good replacements for smoke veil as damage absorbers. However, like above, I’ve yet to get any of these to T6 yet and will probably do a post in due time once I’ve done so.
(Interestingly, as highlighted by a number of players, there is also a ‘hard’ cap for elemental armor bonus of 95.0%. So anything above that value is not registered into the system for global armor stat.)
The improvement in a greater number of skills also means the opportunity to test out new combinations of skills instead of relying on the old over-used combinations. This encourages players to re-look and re-prioritise skill combinations and setups – something I believe DH5 was originally designed for with its initial vast array of skills.
TL;DR: Beginner skills get T6 and certain skills get buffed, enabling a greater choice of viable skill options.
Other Significant Changes
Besides dodge and skill changes, there are two changes which are much more positive on a combat level.
The first is the removal of stagger, which was an annoying action that causes characters to jerk and pause whenever you get hit by certain monster abilities (eg. Corvus Ground Rune, Fire Colossi Flamethrower) or get hit by a strong attack.
In light of this, combat becomes much smoother in comparison to the past. This makes it easier to physically evade attacks of minions and escape quickly to prevent dodge from getting degraded. Unless, of course, you get frozen/stun/knockdown in place, which is still a legit strategy for stronghold building.
Dodge Roll Cooldown
The second is the reduction in cooldown time for dodge roll by 1 second, making it significantly easier to regenerate all of your roll actions much more quickly than in the past. Likewise, this helps in evading incoming minion attacks to help prevent the dodge degradation from occurring.
TL;DR: Stagger removal and dodge roll cooldown time reduction places emphasis on getting away from minion attacks, instead of out-rightly receiving them.
Due to the extreme length of this post, I’ve decided to get a breather here and it’ll be continued sometime mid-week.
The next post (Part 2) will look into the new meta (ie. which trap rooms and minions have been improved) and what strategies that you can use to counter them.